Bobovac Fortress

Bobovac is the most significant and best preserved fortification of the Medieval Bosnia, established on the steep terraced rock on the south slopes of the gigantic mountain massif of Dragovske and Mijakovske Poljice Mountains, above the confluence of Mijakovska River with Bukovica River, southwest of Vareš, in Zenica-Doboj Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thanks to its location and features, the Bobovac Castle was the best fortified Medieval town of Bosnia. Bobovac fortification was erected by Bosnian ruler Stjepan II Kotromanić /r. 1371-1391/ in the middle of the 14th century to serve during its history as the seat of majority of Bosnian rulers, more precisely all Bosnian kings used it until Bosnia lost its independence by Turkish conquest in 1463.

Bobovac Fortress was first mentioned in written documents in 1349. It contained the Upper Town with the rectangular tower whose remains are still visible, and the Lower Town which was situated on the stair that were 20 meters lower of the polygonal shape, about 40 meters long and about 25 meters wide of which the yard and the well can be seen today. Due to its location and the sharp terrain Bobovac Fortress provided unique defense and was a military and administrative seat of the Bosnian kings, beside the King’s Sutjeska, that did not encompass a fortification and was mostly used in the administration and political cases. Bobovac Fortress was target of numerous invaders because of its geo-strategical and military and political significance.

The crown of Bosnian Kings were kept in Bobovac Castle. There was a Royal chapel in Bobovac Castle which is believed to be the ancient church of Bobovac that had been reconstructed by the order of Bosnian King Ostoja. Three Bosnian Kings were buried in the Bobovac Chapel – Stjepan Ostoja, Tvrtko II Kotromanić and Stjepan Tomašević. Ottoman Turks conquered Bobovac Castle in May 21 1463 after only three days of siege. There is the historical record to testify on the harsh struggle that took place here in which Turks used guns. Records also testify that the Duke Radak who was in charge of the Bobovac Fortress handed down the fortification to the Turks with belief to get a reward, but Turks had killed him after the surrender. Fast fall of the Bobovac Fortress that was believed to endure two years of siege was a big surprise for King Stjepan Tomašević what disabled him to assembly soldiers and get assistance from foreign forces. Military forces of Visoko town and other town surrendered without battle because of that reason. After the conquest of the Bobovac Fortress, Turks demolished it, to restore later some parts of the castle which were significant for their stay inside it. Turkish forces remained in Bobovac Fortress until 1626 when it was abandoned, since it lost its previous strategical significance because Turks were invading towards the north and left Bobovac Castle out of their interest deep in the background. The Royal chapel of Bobovac Fortress had been restored in some unprofessional manner so its significance diminished.